The letter was organised by the president of the British Human Association and all but one of the signatories is a 'distinguished supporter' of the British Humanist Association. It doesn't say that in the letter but on its website the British Humanist Association states that he organised the letter. However it does not say that almost all the signatories have previously been honoured by them as 'distinguished supporters'.
Ken Follett is a novelist, an avowed atheist and a distinguished supporter of the British Humanist Association.
Sir Tom Blundell is a scientist and a distinguished supporter of the British Humanist Association. He co-signed a letter calling for Charles Darwin's birthday to be a public holiday.
The New York Times noted that the lead signatory was the president of the British Humanist Association and described one other signatory as a 'noted atheist' but made no mention of the fact that nearly every signatory has been recognised by the British Humanist Association as a 'distinguished supporter'.
The letter certainly draws our attention to the British Humanist Association, whose website lists those whom the association has invited to be 'distinguished supporters'. It reads like a 'who's who' of the people who appear in the media day after day as commentators, contributors and participants in panel discussions. It helps to explain the secular ethos which is so dominant in the media, especially in the BBC, and it helps to explains why Christians are generally marginalised.
The development of this 'distinguished supporters' list provides the British Humanist Association with a list of names, some of them fairly prominent, who can sign a letter as 'public figures'. If the letter was signed by the secretary or the chairman of the British Humanist Association and signed in that capacity it would attract little attention. They would be dismissed as simply another pressure group. It was the omission of any reference to the British Humanist Association and the inclusion of so many names that gave this letter its credibility.
The 54 atheists who signed the letter are just some of the people who have been honoured by the British Humanist Association as 'distinguished supporters'. There are quite a few others, including Professor Richard Dawkins.
Finally, the letter is really a reflection of the activities of an increasingly militant atheism in Britain today. Christian churches and Christian believers would do well to take note!